Quebec Studies

Toward an Anthropology of Place in Migrant Writing: Place, Non-Place, and “Other Spaces” in Fiction by Régine Robin

Quebec Studies (2005), 39, (1), 17–34.

Abstract

17 Toward an Anthropology of Place in Migrant Writing: Place, Non-Place, and "Other Spaces" in Fiction by Régine Robin Anthony Purdy University of Western Ontario That place plays a central role in migrant writing is axiomatic.1 Indeed, the most common categories used to distinguish the different social contexts and historical phases of immigrant and migrant writing — multicultural, intercultural, transcultural, etc. — as well as their dominant thematic and structural paradigms — hybridity, nomadism, deterritorialization, exile, etc. — are usually grounded in underlying spatial economies and the relation to place they express or to which they give rise.2 In this respect, both desire for the fantasized "promised land" and nostalgia for the idealized "home" or origin are often — explicitly or implicitly, prospectively or retrospectively — Utopian; eluding the chrenotopic register of now/here, they are open to seduction by the nowhere of a fetishized past or future that renders them prey to reassuring stereotypes and vulnerable to the same ethnographic present that freezes the primitive (and the exotic) in a discursive space-time that may have no referent in reality (but that can, of course, produce simulacra).3 However, alongside these polarized and polarizing places of unreality, defined deictically by tensions between here and there, now and then, the migrant writing of our globalized modernity circulates through other spaces that may be real or virtual but whose relationship to place requires further exploration. One potentially useful way of thinking about these spaces is through Michel Foucault's notion of heterotopia, as limned in a talk he gave in 1967 to an architects' group. 4 The account Foucault gives is tantalizing but confusing, with definitions that tend to slip away as we try to grasp the concept. Heterotopias are conceived, in contradistinction to Utopias, as real places "which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted Utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted" ("Of Other Spaces," 24). Instead of a rigorous definition, Foucault offers a set of six principles to serve as a working description of these "other spaces" which, though they can be located in real space, are "outside of all places" [hors de tous les lieux] (24). Here, it is enough to recapitulate the six principles and link them provisionally and schematically to (im)migrant experience.' The first principle states that all cultures constitute heterotopias, but that they come in a great variety of forms, none of which is probably universal. However, there are two main categories: crisis heterotopias, widespread in so-called primitive societies where they are reserved for the segregation of individuals passing through crises in relation to their social environment, and the heterotopias of deviation that have by and large replaced them in modern societies. Foucault's modern examples of crisis heterotopias are the nineteenth-century boarding school and the train or the Québec Studies, Volume 39, Spring/Summer 2005

Access Token
£25.00

Adorno, Theodor W. Negative Dialectics. Trans. E. B. Ashton. New York: Continuum, 1973. Negative Dialectics Google Scholar

Augé, Marc. Un ethnologue dans le métro. Paris: Hachette, 1986. Un ethnologue dans le métro Google Scholar

Augé, Marc. Non-lieux. Introduction à une anthropologie de la surmodernité Paris: Seuil, 1992. Non-lieux. Introduction à une anthropologie de la surmodernité Google Scholar

Augé, Marc. Non-Places. Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. Trans. John Howe. London, New York: Verso, 1995. Non-Places. Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity Google Scholar

Barrera, Eduardo. "Aliens in Heterotopia: An Intertextual Reading of the Border Patrol Museum." Ethnography at the Border, ed. Pablo Vila. Minneapolis: U Minnesota P, 2003. 166-81. Ethnography at the Border 166 81 Google Scholar

Berrouët-Oriol, Robert, and Robert Fournier. "L'émergence des écritures migrantes et métisses au Québec." Québec Studies 14 (1992): 7-22. L'émergence des écritures migrantes et métisses au Québec Québec Studies 14 7 22 Google Scholar

Certeau, Michel de. The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. Steven Randall. Berkeley: U California P, 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life Google Scholar

Fabian, Johannes. Time and the Other. How Anthropology Makes Its Object. New York: Columbia UP, 1983. Time and the Other. How Anthropology Makes Its Object Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things. An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. London: Tavistock, 1970. The Order of Things. An Archaeology of the Human Sciences Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel. "Des espaces autres." Architecture-Mouvement-Continuité (5 octobre 1984): 46-49. Des espaces autres Architecture-Mouvement-Continuité 46 49 Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel. "Of Other Spaces." Trans. Jay Miskowiec. Diacritics 16.1 (Spring 1986): 22-27. Of Other Spaces." Trans. Jay Miskowiec Diacritics 16 22 27 Google Scholar

Frédéric, Madeleine. "L'écriture mutante dans La Québécoite de Régine Robin." Voix et images 16.3 (1991): 493-502. L'écriture mutante dans La Québécoite de Régine Robin Voix et images 16 493 502 Google Scholar

Garand, Dominique. Accès d'origine ou pourquoi je lis encore Groulx, Basile, Ferron … Montréal: Editions Hurtubise HMH, 2004. Accès d'origine ou pourquoi je lis encore Groulx, Basile, Ferron … Google Scholar

Gauthier, Louise. La mémoire sans frontières: Émile Ollivier, Naïm Kattan et les écrivains migrants au Québec. Sainte-Foy, Québec: Les Éditions de l'IQRC, 1997. La mémoire sans frontières: Émile Ollivier, Naïm Kattan et les écrivains migrants au Québec Google Scholar

Gide, André. Les faux-monnayeurs. 1925. Paris: Gallimard, Collection Folio, 1985. Les faux-monnayeurs Google Scholar

Green, Mary Jean. Women and Narrative Identity. Rewriting the Quebec National Text. Montreal, Kingston: McGill-Queen's UP, 2001. Women and Narrative Identity. Rewriting the Quebec National Text Google Scholar

Harel, Simon. Le voleur de parcours: identité et cosmopolitisme dans la littérature québécoise contemporaine. Montréal: Le Préambule, 1989. Le voleur de parcours: identité et cosmopolitisme dans la littérature québécoise contemporaine Google Scholar

Harel, Simon. "La parole orpheline de l'écrivain migrant." Montréal imaginaire: ville et literature. Éd. Pierre Nepveu et Gilles Marcotte. Montréal: Fides, 1992. 373-418. Montréal imaginaire: ville et literature 373 418 Google Scholar

Harel, Simon. Les passages obligés de l'écriture migrante. Montréal: XYZ éditeur, 2005. Les passages obligés de l'écriture migrante Google Scholar

Ireland, Susan. "Narratives of Return." Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Québec. Ed. Susan Ireland and Patrice J. Proulx. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004. 23-47. Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Québec 23 47 Google Scholar

Khordoc, Catherine. "Dislocated Subjects, Disjointed Fictions: Régine Robin's and Monique Bosco's ‘Biofictions’." Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Québec. Ed. Susan Ireland and Patrice J. Proulx. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004. 187-99. Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Québec 187 99 Google Scholar

Kwaterko, Józef. Le roman québécois et ses (inter)discours. Québec: Éditions Nota bene, 1998. Le roman québécois et ses (inter)discours Google Scholar

Lamontagne, André. Le roman québécois contemporain: Les voix sous les mots. Montréal: Fides, 2004. Le roman québécois contemporain: Les voix sous les mots Google Scholar

Moisan, Clément et Renate Hildebrand. Ces étrangers du dedans. Une histoire de l'écriture migrante au Québec (1937-1997). Québec: Éditions Nota bene, 2001. Ces étrangers du dedans. Une histoire de l'écriture migrante au Québec (1937-1997) Google Scholar

Nepveu, Pierre. L'écologie du réel: mort et naissance de la littérature québécoise contemporaine. Montréal: Boréal, 1988. L'écologie du réel: mort et naissance de la littérature québécoise contemporaine Google Scholar

Nepveu, Pierre. "Qu'est-ce que la transculture?" Paragraphes 2 (1989): 15-31. Qu'est-ce que la transculture? Paragraphes 2 15 31 Google Scholar

Paterson, Janet. Figures de l'autre dans le roman québécois. Québec: Éditions Nota bene, 2004. Figures de l'autre dans le roman québécois Google Scholar

Purdy, Anthony. "Inscribing Difference: The Changing Function of the Alternarrated as a Site of Intersystemic Interference." Poetics Today 12.4 (1991): 729-45. Inscribing Difference: The Changing Function of the Alternarrated as a Site of Intersystemic Interference Poetics Today 12 729 45 Google Scholar

Purdy, Anthony. "La Québécoite de Régine Robin: une approche dialogique." Le roman québécois depuis 1960: méthodes et analyses. Éd. Louise Milot et Jaap Lintvelt. Québec: PU Laval, 1992. 89-104. Le roman québécois depuis 1960: méthodes et analyses 89 104 Google Scholar

Purdy, Anthony. "Memory in Exile: Collage and Chronotope in Régine Robin's La Québécoite." Exile, Language and Identity. Ed. Magda Stroinska and Vittorina Cecchetto. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2003a. 165-78. Exile, Language and Identity 165 78 Google Scholar

Purdy, Anthony. "Memory Maps: Mnemotopic Motifs in Creates, Poulin, and Robin." Essays on Canadian Writing 80 (2003b): 261-81. Memory Maps: Mnemotopic Motifs in Creates, Poulin, and Robin Essays on Canadian Writing 80 261 81 Google Scholar

Purdy, Anthony. "Heterotopia Revisited in an Age of Globalization." Exclusions/Inclusions: Déplacements économico-symboliques et perspectives américaines/Exclusions/Inclusions: Economic and Symbolic Displacements in the Americas. Ed. Daniel Castillo Durante, Amy D. Colin, et Patrick Imbert. Ottawa: Legas, 2005. 145-55. Exclusions/Inclusions: Déplacements économico-symboliques et perspectives américaines/Exclusions/Inclusions: Economic and Symbolic Displacements in the Americas 145 55 Google Scholar

Robin, Régine. La Québécoite. Roman. Montréal: Québec/Amérique, 1983. La Québécoite Google Scholar

Robin, Régine. "Ce serait un roman … ou Montréal comme hors-lieu." Vice Versa 24 (juin 1988): 23-24. Reprinted in Montréal en prose 1892-1992. Anthologie présentée par Nathalie Fredette. Montréal: Éditions de l'Hexagone, 1992. 488-93. Ce serait un roman … ou Montréal comme hors-lieu Vice Versa 24 23 24 Google Scholar

Robin, Régine. L'immense fatigue des pierres. Biofictions. Montréal: XYZ, 1996. L'immense fatigue des pierres Google Scholar

Simon, Sherry, Pierre L'Hérault, Robert Schwartzwald, et Alexis Nouss. Fictions de l'identitaire au Québec. Montréal: XYZ, 1991. Fictions de l'identitaire au Québec Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Purdy, Anthony